Now in production at Volkswagen’s North American plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee (which also manufactures the North American Passat), the seven-seat Atlas provides the German superbrand a crucial shift into the large SUV segment which is so popular stateside (where it is actually a ‘mid-size’ SUV - the ‘large’ segment reserved for cars like the Lincoln Navigator and Chevrolet Tahoe).
As TMR reported a few weeks back, Volkswagen Australia boss Michael Bartsch is desperate to get the Atlas on-sale here, but needs to ignite further interest from major markets like the U.K. and South Africa in order to secure viability of right-hand-drive production.
Volkswagen North America has launched the all-new Atlas with a choice of two petrol engines - the 175kW 2.0-litre TSI turbocharged four-cylinder or the 206kW 3.6-litre VR6.
Drive is to the front wheels (4Motion all-wheel-drive optional on VR6 only) via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Sitting on a new version of Volkswagen’s MQB modular chassis architecture, the Atlas is 5037mm long, 1979mm wide and stands 1768mm tall - making it the largest Volkswagen model sold in North America.
Plenty of technology on-board too with the Atlas driver presented with Volkswagen Group’s configurable digital cockpit and a 12-speaker, 480W audio system from Fender with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink integration.
Safety features are numerous: adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert, lane departure warning, park assist and – a first for this segment – automatic post-collision braking.